Gearing up for better biking

by Town Reminder

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Forum to be held Monday on cycling improvements

By Kristin Will
Staff Writer

SOUTH HADLEY – Cycling in South Hadley isn’t exactly safe.
Without specified bike lanes, oversized breakdown lanes or even a single bike trail, South Hadley is severely lacking in serving a growing population – bicyclists.
A newly formed Bicycling Subcommittee will discuss ways to improve the town’s biking amenities and solicit ideas from residents Monday, May 13 in a forum held at 7 p.m. in the South Hadley High School library.
Residents of all ages are welcome to attend and voice concerns and ideas.
“We’re looking for any kind of input on how to improve,” said Subcommittee Chairperson Melissa O’Brien.
“There are many ways to do this. We want to make sure we have a broader perspective in mind before we start going down specific paths,” she said.
The forum couldn’t come at a more perfect time, as Baystate Bike Week is held May 11-19.
Baystate Bike Week annually celebrates cycling each May, and promotes commuting to work that week by bike. Activities related to biking span the state in celebration.
South Hadley’s Master Plan outlines residents’ want and need of biking and walking trails, on or off-road, in town.
The Sustainability and Energy Commission was charged with exploring these issues, and as such, the creation of the Bicycling Subcommittee occurred.
The group meets about once a month and currently includes five members. Anyone is welcome to join the subcommittee.
Member Linda Young said the subcommittee is interested in prompting the Selectboard to ask the state to install bike lanes on routes 116 and 202.
Creating a bike path through the Bynan property has also been an idea tossed about.
“There’s a lot of interest,” said Young. “As a subcommittee, we really felt we needed to hear from residents before we set our goals.”
Parents who ride bicycles with their children to commuters, serious cyclists and those who ride for fun are all encouraged to attend the forum.
“Bikers are here along with those of us who drive,” said Young.
Because the subcommittee partnered with MassBike, the Baystate Bike Week presenter, t-shirts, bells and ankle reflectors will be given out during the meeting, along with bike safety information.
If interested residents can’t attend the meeting, they may submit their questions, concerns or ideas to the subcommittee via email at xdoisneau@yahoo.com or they can call 532-3921.

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